After a mass meeting in the Jameson Hall, a large group of students went around the University of Cape Town campus disrupting lectures and mobilising students as they made their way to the Bremner Building, where a memorandum was handed to Vice-Chancellor Max Price on Tuesday. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA
Cape Town - Final exam preparations are well under way at both the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) campuses, despite students from both institutions joining forces to fight for free education and the “demilitarisation” of CPUT.

In a memorandum handed to the UCT executive on Tuesday, student representatives made demands related to fee-free education and other matters.

However, some of these demands were outside the scope of the executives’ ability, such as the call for the release of the Fees Commission report, which only the president can do.

According to UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola, “the UCT vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, wrote to the president on Monday, appealing for the release of the report”.

Violence broke out between students and police on Wednesday after hundreds of students from both institutions marched to Parliament during Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s medium-term budget policy statement.

According to police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel André Traut: “Two male students aged 21 and 28 were arrested in the Cape Town CBD for contravening the Gatherings Act. Once charged, they are due to make a court appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.”

On Tuesday night, the UCT executive and members of the Special Executive Task Team initiated a meeting with SRC members and other student leaders to discuss student demands.

The executive indicated that some of the demands were already being addressed and that there remained a continued commitment to try to resolve the issues.

However, according to SRC members, a forced shutdown was initiated following a breakdown in talks.

But Moholola said “despite some disruptions, UCT remained open on Wednesday, classes, tests, academic work and administrative activities continued”.

“The disruption of lectures jeopardises the academic year and unfortunately many students will be negatively affected, particularly so late in the academic year. Students are near the end of the academic term and are starting to prepare for exams,” he said.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the institution was confident exams set to start next week would go ahead as planned. “We never don’t anticipate issues and we prepare appropriately for any eventuality.

“But right now we are on schedule for an assessment period to end by year end,” she said.

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Weekend Argus